Anambra: Umuoji community rumbles after inconclusive Igweship election
As candidate neglects community constitution and declares self winner
Umuoji community in Anambra State is in a restless mood after the Igweship election held on Saturday, May 8, 2021, was declared inconclusive by the umpire in an election to install a new traditional ruler following the death of the late Igwe, HRH Cyril Enweze.
Three candidates — Chief Anaeto Simeon Muogbo, Chief Kanayo Okoye, and Chief Obiora Stephen Onwuachu — had participated in the election for a new Igwe.
According to data gathered by ElombahNews, Chief Kanayo Okoye is a Works Contractor from Umuechem village.
Chief Stephen Onwuachu is a businessman, astute politician, former President General of Umuoji Improvement Union Nigeria (UIUN) and APC stalwart from Dimboko village.
While Chief Simeon Muogbo is a Barrister at Law, Master’s degree holder, a Conflict Resolution Specialist as well as a Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) retiree after 35 years of meritorious service, from Urumkpu village.
He is also President UIUN Enugu Branch and former member UIUN Peace Committee.
Result shows that Chief Okoye polled the highest vote with a total of 473 votes.
Chief Muogbo was the first runner-up with 459 votes, while Chief Onwuachu was second runner-up with 359 votes.
See the attached table below:
However, an Igwe will not emerge based on the constitution of the community.
According to the chieftaincy constitution of Umuoji, Section 2.3 on method of selection, paragraph F, “where only two candidates qualify for election, the one securing a simple majority by secret ballot shall be declared elected. Where more than two candidates qualify, the candidate who scores two-thirds of the votes cast of the first ballot shall be declared elected.
“In a latter case, when no candidate scores up to two-thirds of the first ballot, a run-off election shall be arranged for the two candidates scoring the highest votes.”
See excerpts of the constitution below:
Based on the outcome of the Umuoji community election, the Chief Returning Officer, Mr. Chukwuemeka Joe Nsika (Nnanyelugo Siwo) declared the election inconclusive.
The umpire, Nnanyelugo Siwo announced: “For the avoidance of doubt, the election for an Igwe did not produce one.
“Rather, it produced two contestants for a run-off election in accordance with our chieftancy constitution.
“We prepared for a run-off election for Sunday, May 9, but it will not hold.
“We were told that election for two days is unacceptable by the state government. Hence, payment was made for only one day.
“The run off must be held on a date to be agreed by the state government and payment made by the PG.
“I made it abundantly clear that the election did not produce an Igwe but a first and second contestants for the runoff which lies with both the PG and Awka to resolve.
“I am happy to have conducted an election that is free fair and credible. Let us thank God for it and prepare for the run off. Thank you.”
According to him, “the run-off election must be held as soon as possible, may be within one month” to conclusively elect the new Igwe.
See the attached report on the Igwe election by Dinechem Electoral Committee signed by the Chief Returning Officer and the Dimechem Electoral Committee and Ohanaeze chairman, Mr. Anthony Akpaniteaku:
Meanwhile, it appears that the declaration either did not go down well with Chief Okoye who polled the highest vote, or was deliberately misconstrued by him and/or his supporters.
ElombahNews was reliably informed that following the election, Okoye declared himself winner, went to his home with his supporters merrying and shouting “there will be no run-off election!”, thereby neglecting the community constitution.
It could be recalled that ElombahNews reported on May 6, 2021, that one “Mrs. VeraQueen Ebele Okonkwo, the Special Adviser on Chieftaincy Affairs to the Governor of Anambra State, Chief Willie Obiano was accused of setting her town—Umuoji on fire by trying to install her puppet, one Chief Anayo Okoye, as the new traditional ruler following the death of the late Igwe”.
It was gathered that Mrs. Okonkwo had been destabilizing the community due to avarice as she sells the community’s ancestral lands, working in cohorts with the likes of one Chief Silas Onyimah whom she imposed as UIUN President General.
Read the full report here:
It was gathered that following the revealing and explosive report, Mrs. Okonkwo reclused into her shell and did not openly meddle with the election as she was used to which saw sanity maintained during the election.
For now, all fingers are crossed as the town awaits the decision of the Anambra State Government and the President General of Umuoji Improvement Union Nigeria for the new date of the run-off election to ensure normalcy returns to the community.